Hardship Recovery

How To Open Your First Bank Account

How do you open a bank account? What type of documents do you need to bring to complete the process? Keep reading to discover all the details.

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If you’re tired of keeping your cash stashed in a box or under your mattress, a bank account may come in handy. Not only can it secure your money, but a bank account can make it easier to make purchases via a debit card as well.

While opening an account may sound intimidating if you’ve never done it before, it’s quite simple as long as you follow the tips in this article.

Basic Requirements to Open a Bank Account

Each bank will have its own set of requirements to screen applicants. There are specific laws, however, that lay out minimum requirements that must be met by most banks, such as:

1. You must be at least 18 years old.

To have a personal bank account, you’ll need to be 18 or older. If you are younger, you still have options, though.

Your bank may have accounts designated explicitly for minors as a way for youths to learn money management and secure them as customers down the line.

If your bank doesn’t have this option, you might be able to use a parent or legal guardian to open a joint account.

2. You must be a U.S. citizen.

Some banks will require that you have U.S. citizenship to open an account. Again, this may vary between banks, so do your research beforehand to figure out if you are a good fit.

With so many financial institutions out there, it’s never a good idea to quit looking if one can’t serve your needs.

3. Your financial history will be checked.

If you’ve had issues with banks before, it could affect your current application.

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For instance, a history of overdrafts could negatively impact your ability to get a new bank account. If a bank has closed one of your accounts in the past, that could make it tougher to open a new account as well.

Where to Open a Bank Account

You can walk into your local bank branch to open an account, or you can search for institutions that will let you complete the process online.

What to Bring When Opening Your Account

Bring these documents on your trip, and you should walk out with a brand new bank account as long as you meet the requirements:

Photo identification – A state-issued driver’s license is the most common form of ID used to open a new account. A passport will also suffice. If you have neither, use your state ID, which you can get from your local DMV.

Proof of address – Bring paperwork that has your address on it, such as a utility bill, lease agreement, or mortgage statement.

Social Security card – Bringing your SSN card is sometimes required. If you don’t have an SSN, you’ll need to get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the IRS.

Initial deposit – Once your application is accepted, many banks will require that you leave a minimum deposit to make it all official. Call the bank or look online to see what their minimum deposit is beforehand.

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